The wintertime gets a great deal of hate because of the cold weather, the nasty storms, the lack of sunlight, and what seems an overly long length. One thing most people do enjoy is the day of “first snow.” If you live in a place where snow is a regular occurrence or grew up in such a place, you may remember snow days! These were some of the most joyous times—that in 2020 (with the advent of remote learning) many students will not experience. Gone are the days of eating cereal while watching your favorite shows and spending the day sledding, having snowball fights, and generally vegging out—after shoveling, of course!
When was the last time you failed at something? Did you truly fail or just stop trying?
In my work, I ask students to recall failure as part of our now-common virtual interactions. When middle schoolers or high schoolers answer, they usually reflect on a major test or quiz. When college students answer, their responses are more mixed, as experiences at that age are more diverse. Some speak of an entire course, while others venture into explorations of failed attempts at making a team or becoming a part of a group. We then talk about what we learned from failures and how weaving past mistakes into our approach can equip us for future success. These are all from a perspective we see commonly spoken about in our world today.
How long is your list of cancellations this year? Each month of 2020 seems to try to bring back one thing we lost and also takes away something many of us were looking forward to. A majority of my day is spent helping high school students who are transitioning to college. One of the most disappointing pieces of news that I have to deliver over and over again is telling a student that he or she waited too long to take advantage of an opportunity. Yes, deadlines are clearly stated, but additionally, some things “run out” if you do not jump on them quickly enough. In my job, this happens most often when classes fill up, when dorms reach capacity, or when scholarship money is used up. As if these missed opportunities were not difficult enough, many students in 2020 are also encountering cancellations from the world as well—through no direct fault of their own. We struggle in this together.
I can see how people might be skeptical regarding Scripture. I was, after all. At one point, I truly didn’t know much about the Bible, so the minute someone stated that the Bible wasn’t reliable, it was all the evidence I needed to convince me that the Bible wasn’t true. I didn’t do any research for myself—I didn’t even read more into the claims. Nope. I was simply sure they were right. (Though this is not the case anymore.)
If you are like most congregations, you have ministries aimed at serving your younger members. In many youth ministries, we tend to spend a great deal of time producing programs for our students. But what would happen if congregations began investing less time building ministries for students and instead developed methods to serve with students? What would it look like to equip students for leadership roles in the church and empower them to serve?